Brain Fog

I put my application for my Irish passport in the post and my reason for sharing this is because it has been on my to-do list for months, but the prospect of actually doing it has been too much. Like so many tasks at the moment, it felt utterly overwhelming, because, like 60% of perimenopausal women I am experiencing brain fog. 

The vast majority of the time I can’t think clearly, ‘muddy’ is a word that conjures up the visual of the inside of my head. Trying to pull a word or remember a name is akin to trying to ease a welly out of the mud without it coming off. Does that make sense? The feeling of ‘thickness’ and ‘stuckness’ when trying to tackle anything that needs me to think, make a decision, commit or create. 

Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms of Perimenopause and research shows that our brain function is altered as our oestrogen levels drop, especially oestradiol the form of oestrogen produced by our ovaries. 

My cognitive skills are not what they used to be, my quick thinking, action-taking, organisational skills are numbed. I struggle to organise coffee with a friend, I find it hard to commit and make decisions. 

But yesterday was day 75 of my cycle I felt a surge of oestrogen, my energy was up, my sleep was good, my libido suddenly kicked in and my head cleared! I felt inspired to harness this window of clarity and get sh*t done.  

I am not worried about my brain fog, at times I can’t string a sentence together or write as fluidly as I used to, but evidence suggests that our cognitive skills bounce back Post Menopause as our brain adjusts to having little or no oestrogen on board. 

So how can we manage this cognitive impairment?

  1. Acknowledge and accept. Don’t panic! This too shall pass. 
  2. Try not to multi-task. Eating and reading emails can cause my brain to fizz. 
  3. Write IT down. If I get a creative idea or I need to remember anything, I write it down. 
  4. Track your cycle. You will learn to recognise spikes in your oestrogen production and use it productively. 
  5. If it isn’t life-threatening, leave it. It will get done, eventually. Take the pressure off and be kind to yourself.